by Douglas Carter Beane
Directed by David Bell
With Ella Caldwell, Martin Sharpe, Kat Stewart & Tom Wren
GREEN ROOM AWARDS Nomination Best Actor: Martin Sharpe (Rabbit Hole / The Little Dof Laughed) Nomination Best Actress: Kat Stewart
Set Design by David Bell
Lighting by Matt Scott
Sound by Mick Crozier
Stage Manager Nicol Booth
The Little Dog Laughed (17/10/07-17/11/07) Kate Rose, Sunday Herald Sun (28/10/07
THE Red Stitch Actors’ Theatre is one of the most interesting independent groups around, consistently peddling quality work from their tiny space, and this is no exception.
The Little Dog Laughed is a modern comedy of manners set in the world of fame and success. Mitchell (Tom Wren) is an actor, a rising star, the next big thing and gay. Diane (Kat Stewart) is his ruthlessly ambitious manager, agony aunt, proxy date for award nights and far too together to indulge in personal relationships.
On a trip to New York for an award ceremony, Mitchell engages the services of a rent boy, Alex, (Martin Sharpe) for whom he eventually falls. Sadly for Alex’s girlfriend Ellen (Ella Caldwell), her childhood sweetheart returns the affection.
Playwright Douglas Carter-Beane has provided a witty, engaging script that – while vitriolic towards Hollywood and its fame game – is also endearingly
empathetic towards its flawed protagonists.
Tom Wren captures perfectly Mitchell’s emotional confusion, while Kat Stewart is magnificent as Diane. Sharpe and Caldwell also give their characters a great sense of humanity, making them real and brave and vulnerable all at once.
This piece is yet another convincing argument from Red Stitch about the strength of Melbourne’s theatre scene.
Vito Matterelli, Australian Stage Online 23/10/07
The Little Dog Laughed (Oct 17 – Nov 17) by Douglas Carter-Beane. Directed by David Bell.
Mitchell is a very good looking movie actor whose star is on the rise. Diane is his tough manager, taking care of all the details in his career and in his life. Alex is a young, attractive man working as a male prostitute – to pay the bills. Ellen is Alex’s sort-of girlfriend.
Late one night while in New York for an awards ceremony, Mitchell calls for a rent boy and Alex turns up. Two worlds and four separate lives collide that night.
Author Douglas Carter-Beane has created a multi-layered story rich in insight and observations. More than a tale of sexual ambiguity and immoral values, Little Dog is scathing in its attack of Hollywood stereotypes and double standards, while at the same time looks at the complex human issues of people desperate to connect.
This very witty and often hilarious play will have you roaring with laughter one moment only to be moved by a character’s attempt to find love and happiness in a world where disappointment and selfishness prevail.
Guest actor Tom Wren does a great job with the self-obsessed Mitchell. Martin Sharpe is touching as the younger Alex, street-wise beyond his years. His cockiness always ready to hide his insecurities and issues of trust. Ella Caldwell handles the lesser role of Ellen very well, creating an interesting, likeable character.
The role of Diane however, is written for a skilled performer who has the task of not only driving the play but of also narrating some of the action, all the while spitting out some of the funniest, bitchiest lines. Kat Stewart is terrific in the role. As a performer she seizes the opportunity to play a great part and displays fine comic timing.
Director David Bell makes a welcome debut with the company and keeps the look and feel of the production on the right level.
While they may have been a few stumbles on opening night, this terrific piece of theatre deserves support and will be even better as the season progresses.
Yet again Red Stitch has proved that it can make consistently high standards of choice both with its programming and casting.